Nelson Leafs coach David McLellan had his first chance to see his team in game action on Wednesday night.
And he liked what he saw.
The Nelson Leafs hockey squad traveled to Beaver Valley to battle the Nitehawks and earned a hard fought 4-4 tie with their rivals in the first exhibition game of the new season.
“It was a good exhibition game, we got a lot of our young guys playing,” said the coach. “Our veteran players played in the third period and they looked like veteran players.”
He called it a typical first game, filled with sloppy play from many of the youngsters who made “young player mistakes.” However the coach said he expected that from the newcomers.
“Our older guys though, looked very good to me overall. They started off slow but really picked it up.”
Goaltenders Jesse Gillis and Jason Mailhoit were solid in the nets for Nelson.
McLellan said his defensive veterans were really “noticeable” on the ice and played a strong game. He singled out Robson Cramer and Darnel St. Pierre for their play.
Of the youngsters on the ice, Nelson’s Sam Weber had an impressive performance in his first game action.
“We had a really good contribution from a young player, Weber, who played well as a forward.”
The coach has three more chances to see his team gel as the Leafs play on three consecutive nights beginning tonight in Creston Valley.
The Leafs play Creston again on Saturday, this time at the Nelson and District Community Complex. Om Sunday the Leafs host Beaver Valley. Both games start at 7 p.m.
The coach is glad to be playing so many games.
“You get to a stage as a coach that you want to start working with your core group. By the fourth game, we should have that.”
The regular season begins September 12 when the Leafs host the Nitehawks.